Herald case underscores need for bankruptcy changes, Warren says
As originally appearing in Boston Business Journal

By: Katie Lannan – State House News Service

Railing against a system she said has an “undeniable tilt” in favor of the rich and powerful, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday pointed to the Boston Herald to make her case for bankruptcy policy that prioritizes workers.

“Why did the Boston Herald file bankruptcy in Delaware?” Warren said at a New England Council breakfast. “Its workers are here, its reporters are here, its retirees are here, its suppliers are here and the last time I looked, we have a bankruptcy court right here in Boston, a court whose judges are excellent, so why Delaware?”

She said many large companies engage in “forum shopping,” choosing to file bankruptcy in Delaware or the Southern District of New York because of “more favorable legal precedents that happen to line up with the interest of corporate management,” though bankruptcy courts were established in every jurisdiction so that decisions can be made near people who are affected.

“And that’s exactly why companies run away from home — to put as much distance as they can between themselves and their communities and to raise the cost and to limit the ability of employees, retirees, and local suppliers to follow them 1,000 miles or clear across the country,” Warren said.

In her speech at the Omni Parker House and later in comments to reporters, Warren touched on the topics of bankruptcy law, housing for Puerto Rican evacuees, Monday’s summit between the American and Russian presidents, and her re-election bid.

A story on the front page of Monday’s New York Times said Warren is “warming up” for a 2020 presidential campaign, characterizing the Cambridge Democrat’s outreach to early primary states and other efforts as “among the most assertive steps taken by any Democrat to prepare for 2020.”

“I’m running for Senate in 2018 and I take nothing for granted,” Warren said when asked about the article. “I just had my 29th town hall. I’m out there running hard, but make no mistake, I’m a team player. I want to see people who share our values have a strong voice.”

After addressing the New England Council, Warren on Monday was scheduled to join the public workers’ union AFSCME at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for its 43rd international convention. According to her office, her remarks at the closed-press event covered President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court bench and issues facing workers after the court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that non-union public employees cannot be required to pay certain union fees.

Warren also criticized the Trump administration’s response to the hurricanes that battered Puerto Rico last year.

“Every time somebody talks about there’s too much bureaucracy in government, I agree — there is too much, but understand part of it is put in place to stop exactly what is going on right now,” she said. “The Trump administration in general and FEMA in particular have played politics with Puerto Rico. They have not responded to the crisis there and now, next month, we’ll start a new hurricane season with Puerto Rico not fully recovered from the last one.”

Warren, Sen. Edward Markey and six other senators in late May filed a bill to activate a disaster housing assistance program for Puerto Ricans recovering from the Hurricanes Maria and Irma, a move Warren said can otherwise only be made at the Federal Emergency Mangement Agency’s discretion. She said FEMA has declined to activate the program.

A $583 million spending bill Gov. Charlie Baker filed on Friday included $5 million in transitional housing assistance for Puerto Rican evacuees in Massachusetts.

“In a Republican-controlled Senate I can’t get the legislation to move, so we’ve got people who have just run out and are in the process of running out of federal help,” Warren said. “The state has stepped up, which means we’re spending state tax dollars where federal tax dollars should be spent, but it’s a very thin safety net at this point.”

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